Commonwealth rights and interests in Indigenous grant funded property - Policy statement
The Australian Government is committed to supporting Indigenous self-determination by maximising the autonomy and economic independence of Indigenous organisations.
In February 2018, the Australian Government held caveats over more than 2800 Indigenous owned properties purchased with grants made by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and its predecessor organisations. Former ATSIC legislation stopped the Australian Government from removing its interests in these properties unless they were being sold, transferred or mortgaged. This has prevented Indigenous organisations from leveraging the equity in these properties.
In February 2018, legislation was passed to allow the Australian Government to give notice to Indigenous organisations that its consent is no longer required for a property disposal. This means that Indigenous organisations can now apply at any time to have a caveat on their property removed.
The Australian Government is striving to stimulate Indigenous entrepreneurship and business development, providing Indigenous Australians with more opportunities to participate in the economy.
The Australian Government recognises removing Commonwealth caveats may unlock economic development opportunities for Indigenous organisations and communities.
The Australian Government aims to provide a streamlined, flexible application process and transparent assessment criteria for caveat removal, which balances the need to provide greater autonomy and economic empowerment with the need to protect service continuity and significant assets in the Indigenous estate.